Real-life story: How Clark Howard saved me 43% on my auto insurance!

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Real-life story: How Clark Howard saved me 43% on my auto insurance!
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Reddit user “little_pete_wrigley” was paying $210 for his auto insurance policy through Liberty Mutual and wanted to see if he could do better and save some money.

His first stop online? Our very popular list of the best and worst auto insurers.

RELATED: Is your homeowners insurance too expensive? Here’s what to do about it

This guy put $280 back in his pocket

While perusing our link, little_pete learned about two of Clark’s longtime favorite insurers — USAA Property & Casualty and Amica Insurance.

Not everyone can join USAA. Membership is limited to military veterans as well as active duty military. Immediate family members are eligible as well.

Amica, on the other hand, is open to anyone who meets their qualifications — no military service necessary.

So little_pete focused on Amica and took a look at their website to learn more about them.

“They quoted me $125 online,” the Reddit user wrote on the popular discussion board.

That would have been a roughly 40% savings. But little_pete didn’t want to stop the savings there!

“I called them and got [the] same coverage for $118 a month plus renters insurance. [The] cost of [the] premium [was] actually less than the auto-bundle discount, so they basically pay me to take it.”

So little_pete saved $92 on his auto policy — with the same level of coverage — and got free renters insurance thrown in, to boot.

(Editor’s note: The average cost of a renters insurance policy is $187 annually, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.)

Just like that, little_pete put nearly $280 back in his life — with one phone call, after looking at money expert Clark Howard’s list of the best and worst auto insurers.

We’ll let the Reddit user have the last word…

“Cheers to saving money!”

How do I choose car insurance?

If you want to be like little_pete and shop your auto insurance, it’s actually really easy!

Here are the steps to take.

  1. Identify great companies to shop with. For the latest and greatest on auto insurance satisfaction from a customer perspective, purchase a one-time subscription to Consumer Reports and review their latest list of the best auto insurers.
  2. Call or go online to get quotes. Plan on spending about 15 minutes on the phone with each insurer you’re interested in. Have your current policy handy so you can match coverage.
  3. Consider dropping comprehensive and collision. When the cost of comp and collision exceeds 10% of your vehicle’s value, you’re best off opting for just liability coverage. Determine your vehicle’s value at Edmunds.com, KBB.com or NADA.com.
  4. Take a higher deductible. $1,000 is generally better than $500 because it will prevent you from making small piddly claims that hurt you in the long run.
  5. Ask about discounts. There are so many of them out there — for low annual mileage, student drivers with good grades, having anti-theft devices on your vehicle, to name just a few!
  6. Compare the numbers. Once you have all your quotes, this is the easy part. One caveat here though: Don’t fall into the trap of automatically going with a poorly ranked insurance company just because they give you a lowball quote. Here’s why, according to Clark Howard.

RELATED: 6 things you need to know about renters insurance

Survey: These are the top auto insurance companies

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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